PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As kids get ready for a new school year, some in Philadelphia are hoping back-to-school activities will also help curb crime in the city. There was no shortage of activities as dozens of people attended a back-to-school event at the Lonnie Young Rec Center in East Germantown Saturday afternoon.
“This will encourage, I hope our young people, show the young people that they have values, and they’re parents that we value them,” Pennsylvania state senator Art Haywood said, “that we’ve got to put effort into them.”
Haywood organized the event along with the Regular Fellows Foundation, a nonprofit that is focused on serving the community by bridging the gap of necessity and resources.
“This has been a tremendous event and I can’t be happier that we’re doing it,” he added.
From 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on East Chelten avenue, the smallest community members learned about aviation, animals and other activities.
“I feel good, it’s fun,” Jaylynn Vaughn, a kid who attended the event, said.
The goal, to curb violence by instilling hope.
“One of the things I’m very concerned about is the hope deficit and a hope deficit is that young people don’t have a high level of hope aspiration,” Haywood said. “I think that’s in part why we’re killing each other.”
“It’s very important because we want the world to know and we want Philadelphia to know that our kids are only killing each other because we have nothing to do, it’s nothing to do,” Antoine Mapp, the Director of the Sixers Stixers Drumline, said.
Mapp says events like this one are necessary and help provide a united front against crime.
“It’s the same mission so we’re all trying to partner with every organization in the city to take back our city and give these kids something to do,” Mapp said.
And for kids like Vaughn, a soon-to-be 8th grader, his future goals are clear.
“I wanna be a boxer and an NFL player,” he said.
The event also included book giveaways and an opportunity for people to get vaccinated. They hope more events like this pop up around the city.